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Nancy Walton Laurie's Cedar Lake Ensemble Makes Its St. Louis Debut at Touhill Performing Arts Center for Limited Engagement

May, 2005


New York based contemporary ballet company, Cedar Lake Ensemble, makes it’s St. Louis debut at University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, with performances Thursday, June 23 & Friday, June 24 at 8pm. According to the ballet company’s founder, Nancy Walton Laurie, as well as the news media, the vibrant new ensemble merges classical and contemporary ballet with powerful multimedia theatrics.

New York (PRWEB) May 13, 2005 -- New York based contemporary ballet company, Cedar Lake Ensemble, makes it’s St. Louis debut at University of Missouri-St. Louis’s Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, with performances Thursday, June 23 & Friday, June 24 at 8pm. According to the ballet company’s founder, Nancy Walton Laurie, as well as the news media, the vibrant new ensemble merges classical and contemporary ballet with powerful multimedia theatrics.

The Philadelphia Inquirer raved of the company’s performance, calling it “truly striking,” and showcasing “dancing distinguished by their strong lines and impressive pointe work” while comparing the company’s “to die for” visual and sound production values to those of Cirque du Soliel. The Village Voice praised the company’s “high-powered, eclectic vocabulary (with a) mix of modern dance, ballet and jazz.”

Cedar Lake Ensemble’s overwhelmingly successful Miami debut of Emerge Tour in May 2004 showcased “committed dancers…choreographic passages with real thrills and an original look,” exclaimed the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Guillermo Perez.

Beyond The Red, the title of this year’s offering, is an original full-length contemporary ballet featuring former Eliot Feld member Nickemil Concepcion; Juilliard alumnus Jolene Baldini; as well as Jason Kittelberger – previously of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago – in a kaleidoscopic tale of love’s sweeping journey.

The 17-member Cedar Lake Ensemble, under the direction of former Alvin Ailey dancer, Benoit Swan-Pouffer, presents the story of two young lovers with contrasting backgrounds, tested by life’s temptations. As the two come to realize their relationship’s significance, they ultimately learn to embrace the obstacles life presents, and learn how love can overcome their obstacles.

The performance incorporates Cedar Lake’s signature high-tech production value, including a video landscape designed by Adam Larsen, and lighting by Ryan O’Gara. Violinist and vocalist Anna Kennedy will accompany the original musical score by Brett Jarvis. Costumes are designed by Bradley Meinke and sets by Tim Mackabee.

Formed in September 2002 by Laurie, Cedar Lake Ensemble is a rare for-profit organization offering company member’s full benefits and 52 weeks of employment. The ensemble works with both established and rising artists from the world of dance, music, theatre and production to create performances that utilize components of all of these disciplines.

Cedar Lake Ensemble performers are not only trained in classical ballet and contemporary styles, they are also required to take acting and scene study classes weekly to enhance their talent.

"I have always been an admirer of the arts, especially the grace and athleticism that a dancer possesses,” said Laurie. “I started Columbia Performing Arts Centre, a dance studio for elementary through college age students in Columbia, Missouri nearly a decade ago.”

“Since then, I've witnessed first-hand how important it's been to that community – and felt it was time to expand with Cedar Lake Ensemble in New York at a professional level to provide additional opportunities for new and emerging artists,” added Laurie.

The company recently purchased two buildings from renowned photographer Annie Liebovitz in New York’s Chelsea gallery district. The properties will soon be renovated to include both a studio and a 200-seat performance space. Performers include Christopher Adams, Jolene Baldini, Jubal Battisti, Shaun Boyle, Nickemil Concepcion, Alexandra Gonzalez, Emaline Green, Jessica Keller, Jason Kittelberger, Radoslaw Kokoszka, Marcelino Palomino, Dawn Quaker, Jessica Coleman Scott, Ted Seymour, Dario Vaccaro, Kristen Elizabeth Weiser and Sydney Young.

Cedar Lake Ensemble will perform Thursday, June 23 & Friday, June 24 at 8pm at The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center University of Missouri-St. Louis, Florissant Road/University Boulevard exit off Interstate 70 (Exit 240).

Tickets for the performances range in price from $35 - $25, with a special offer of $15 for seniors and students. Tickets may be obtained by calling 314.516.4949, toll free at 866.516.4949 or at www.touhill.org.

More information about Cedar Lake Ensemble is available by visiting www.cedarlakensemble.com.

Glen Wielgus
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